As many of you know, I am a member of a group of forward-thinking online professionals known as Digital Mastermind. Our latest event just concluded and I’ve returned from an incredible meeting in Orlando Florida. We spent three intense days filled with tremendous guest speakers, BarCamp sessions and spirited discussion. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you some of the thought leadership and business-transforming ideas that came out of that meeting. For now, here is a high-level peek at everything we covered:
Best Use Cases for CMS
We discussed the current state of Content Management Systems (CMS’s) for business use. From there, we got into the details of features and functionality for WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco, Freedom, and our own CMS. Needless to say, there’s a lot to share here in the coming weeks. Like most things in life, every CMS has a particular purpose for which it’s best suited, and has its own strengths and weaknesses. Our job as Digital Agency CEOs and owners is to match the right CMS with each client based on the client’s needs. CMS use in business does not have a “one size fits all” solution.
The Problem with (Crappy) Content
The mindset of writing for search engines (and search engine rankings) has led to a proliferation of really rotten content on the web. At our meeting, we addressed the concerns that we have and that our clients have with this kind of content. Copy that is heavily laced with keywords, is uninspired, and offers no value to visitors serves only to clutter the web. If you’re looking for a way to get a great deal of traffic that leaves your site in anger or disappointment, you’ve found a good recipe. This is also a hot button for Google, and it is believed that content quality is one of the reasons behind their introduction of the “author” tag. We will explore how to write compelling copy that converts, as well as proper use of the Author tag in our upcoming blog posts and newsletters.
Getting Creative with Content Marketing
The flip side of copy written for search engines is content that is meant for your target audience. We discussed ways to be more creative from a content marketing and SEO standpoint, and to think in terms of what the client needs when creating copy. For example, if you sell sinks that are commonly used in kitchen remodels, you might want to develop content on your site that discusses how to select the best surface for your counter tops. Since the sink and countertop decision are often made around the same time, this could be valuable information to your clients. The side benefit to you is that you might pick up some additional organic traffic that you would not otherwise have captured.
Better Conferences Using BarCamp
One of the things that makes these Digital Mastermind conferences so energizing is the way they break with the traditional conference format. While we do have terrific guest speakers (more on that below) we also cultivate learning and exchange within the group.
The BarCamp format gives everyone the chance to lead the conference by calling on everyone to create and be ready to present a topic in his or her area of expertise. The result is a more engaged and enthusiastic audience that is ready to share freely. I’ll dig deeper into the methodology behind BarCamp meetings in future posts, and I’ll also suggest ways you can incorporate it into your own conferences.
Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch
John Jantsch authored an incredible book titled “Duct Tape Marketing”. As he addressed our group, it became apparent that part of his magic is his ability to keep things simple and focused. His definition of marketing is “getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you”. He is a strong proponent of everyone having a marketing system in place in the same way that you have an accounting system. His components are:
- Always develop strategy before tactics
- Fill your marketing hourglass (know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, refer)
- Publish educational content
- Create a total web presence
- Use a lead generation Trio (Advertising, Public Relations, Referral System)
- Make selling a system too
- Live by the calendar
Anyone can make a complex task difficult; it takes genius to make a complex task easy. We will look at all these phases in upcoming blog posts and how they relate to your business.
One of our own Mastermind group members, Jeb Banner of Small Box Creative, is brilliant at building culture. He explained how to create a habitat for a healthy culture, and advocates a “culture calendar”. The culture calendar contains events specifically designed to build culture. For their firm, he has quarterly culture events. One of the more remarkable ideas he had was the concept of “factory week”. His premise is that all of us as business CEOs and owners tend to shuffle our own projects and needs to the bottom of the priority list. We have grand aspirations to redesign our own website, develop a better system for project management, or create that new sales presentation, and we never get to it. The simple truth is that our clients come first.
His solution is to have all employees contribute ideas on what “needs to be fixed” by logging into the company Project Management system. Every six months during his slower season, he has “factory week”. He sends out emails to his clients well in advance, and says “we will be closed the week of 02/01/13 -02/06/13, but please contact us if an emergency comes up”. Just prior to that week, employees vote on what problems they want to fix during factory week. When that week rolls around, the employees are on board, energized, enthused and problems get fixed. To keep everyone motivated, they also have a tiny bit of pizza, beer and fun at the office.
Tell Us Your Thoughts
With so much information to cover over the next few months, I want to be sure we break down the topics that you’re most interested in, first. Drop me a line on our contact page and let me know where you’d like me to start.